27 May, 2011

Rightly Divided.

How do we rightly divide the Scriptures? With other Scriptures.

As I was meditating on that thought this morning, I was reminded of IPeter 5:6, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty Hand of God that He may exalt you at the proper time." I do not think we fully understand what that means. While it is our responsibility to humble ourselves in the Presence of God, we have not been doing it properly up to this point. Declaring our faultiness before God is not humility. In fact, it is forbidden in the Bible. Colossians 2:18 says "Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility..." Paul goes on to list a few other deceptions that will rob us of God's moving in our lives, but the first one he lists is false humility. Other translations label it as "self-absement." Beating yourself up is not what God had in mind when He had Peter wrote "humble yourselves." If that were the case, then the Bible would be contradicting Itself on this issue; and we know that is never the case.

Earthly parents do not enjoy listening to their children talk bad about themselves all day. They do not like listening to kids talk about what they cannot do, or that they are not worthy of something, or that they are no good/worthless/etc. Why do we think God would be any different? It's worse in God's Eyes, because He has given us the tools not to be this way! I could picture God "pulling His Hair out" at the sound of church people declaring their sinfulness in His Face. "God, we are so unworthy to be in Your Presence. We know we are sinful, and nothing we can ever do will be worthy of Your goodness. We do not know why You chose us. You should have done away with us..." God hates when you say that! We are His children, and any parent will tell you that they do not like hearing their kids talk that way about themselves, and God is no different. He created each of us intentionally with a purpose, in love, to live a righteous, full life in Him. For us to devalue ourselves in any way is to slap Him in the Face. Do you want to slap God? I don't.

What does the Bible say about us (not religion, catechisms, or dead theologians)? It says that we are the righteousness of God in Jesus (IICorinthians 5:17-21). He has given us His Spirit to grow in power and might, and that through Him we know all things (IJohn 2:20). It says we have been given every tool for life and godliness, found in a full knowledge of Him (IIPeter 1:3). And He gave us His Word so that we can grow in that knowledge of Him (IITimothy 3:16-17)! Hello?? Yet, to walk in self-abasement is to cripple yourself. Proverbs 23:7 says that we are what we think. If we declare ourselves as incapable, sinful, weak and confused, then that is what we will walk in. That is what many Christians do. No wonder so many people are getting ripped up by the devil! Jesus said that what we say and believe will happen will happen to us (Matthew 8:13; Mark 11:23). If you believe the pathetic description religion says of you over what God says about you, you will live in defeat from now until Jesus comes.

I once heard Kenneth Copeland challenge listeners to do an exercise in this area. He said take ICorinthians 13, the "Love chapter," and replace your name for the word "love." You are a child of God; you have the Spirit of God residing in you; God is Love (IJohn 4:8). Therefore, you are born of the incorruptible seed of Love, and that Love resides in you now. These verses reflect both God and us as His children. One other Christian author said he was challenged to do this same exercise (though I am sure it was not from Copeland). He later wrote about this challenge, and he said "by the end, don't you feel like a liar?" I wrote an emphatic "NO!" in the margin. If the Bible says I am the seed of God, and that His Love is shed abroad in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), then I am all of these things listed in ICorinthians 13, regardless of how I feel. That would be calling God a liar. That is not how to rightly divide the Scriptures. We do not base anything the Bible says about us on how we feel. We tell our feelings to line-up with what the Bible says about us, not the other way around.

This area of humility is just one example of how to rightly read the Scriptures. We have to know more than one Scripture. The Bible says that everything needs to be established by two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6; IICorinthians 13:1; ITimothy 5:19). To base an idea off of one Scripture is very dangerous. The devil will use Scripture to twist your ideas about anything. Find more than one place in Scripture regarding any issue. What it says, goes. It you find something that goes contrary to what you learned in church, change what you talk about in church. If it makes you feel like a liar, say it anyway. The devil is the liar, not the Word. Faith is believing without seeing or feeling. You got to believe it before you can see it. You cannot believe it unless you know it exists. So find it.

26 May, 2011

What Did He SAY?

"His [Paul's] letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" ~2Peter 3:16 (NIV).

I was thinking about this quite a bit this morning, as it is the foundation verse for the study I have been following the questions of healing. I find myself reflected in this verse. I have been around plenty of Scriptural distortion in my life. It's called liberal arts education. It's called living in the PNW. Combine some of the faithless teaching I had growing up, mixed with the lifeless religion I was surrounded with in college (and the horrors of "Medieval Christianity") and you get a young person who is ready to throw-in the towel. What is the root cause of this confusion? Ignorance.

People twist the Scriptures to say what they want it to say, so that it will line-up with whatever religious notions they have. A classic example that I won't go into right now is Paul's "thorn in the flesh" (2Corinthians 12:6). Many modern translations read that it was a painful ailment of some kind. The Bible does not say that. Paul said it was a "messenger of Satan." Who said he was sick? He didn't say that. God didn't say that. People made it up. Stop doing that.

Jesus instructed us to pray that God's Will be done on the earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10). That informs me that that is currently not happening. For those out there who believe that God's Sovereignty means that everything that happens on this earth is a result of His Plan, do us a favor: don't talk. If God's Will were actually being done right now, the end result would be... HEAVEN! What does Heaven look like? Nobody is sick in Heaven. There is no poverty anywhere. Jewelry is construction equipment. There is nothing but peace, joy and prosperity. There is no confusion. There is no strife. There are no wars, genocides, racist divisions or democrats (too far??). Do you see that in the earth? Then God's Will is clearly not being done.

God never said His Sovereignty extended to the extent that everything He wants done happens? God is Sovereign outside of His Word. However, in His goodness and righteousness, He has actually limited Himself within the earthly realm. This is not to mention the fact that, through their sin, Adam and Eve relinquished control of this earth to the devil. God cannot waltz in and do whatever He wants - that is what Satan does. God's Will is that all people be saved (John 3:17; 2Peter 3:9). That is not happening. It is God's Will that all people live healthy, long lives. That's rarely even happening in the Church. It is obvious that this "Sovereignty" is not what we have made it out to be. What did God actually say about these issues? 

Ephesians 5:17 instructs us to know what the Will of the Lord is. We find that through time in His Word, fellowshipping with it and the Holy Spirit. While it is good and wonderful to look up to various men and women for guidance, it is important not to read the "Gospel of Piper" or the "Scriptures According to Driscoll" or what-not. I have heard too many sermons where an author was quoted more than Scripture. I have heard teaching that was based more in doctrinal book than The Book. That is why there is so much confusion regarding what God has said regarding His people. He calls this foolishness. I have heard it said in every church I have attended in my life "Lord, we do not understand why You do these things." Well, you are officially no longer living Biblically - and you are a fool. The Bible says we all have an unction of the Holy Spirit and we know all things (1John 2:20). That is what God says about you. If you say otherwise, you are calling Him a liar.

The Bible says that Jesus' stripes bought healing. Yet many people are sick. Many people are living life bound by a disease that God never intended. I have done this as many times as other people, I know what it is like: they pray for God to intervene, yet through in a "If it be Your Will." We pray more as a "let's see what God wants to do" inquiry, than we do effectual prayer. Without faith in what God actually said, nothing can be accomplished. James said it is the prayer of faith that heals (James 5:15). No faith, no results. No Word, no faith (Romans 10:17). 

God expects you to understand and believe what He said, not what some other person thinks He meant. Do not prayer "if it be Your Will," when the Scriptures already say what His Will is. Do not assume that just because something happened in your life it was the Will of God. Tragedy befalls this entire world; none of it is His Will. Jesus informed us that we will deal with persecutions (John 16:33), but not because He wanted them. He knows how our world is, and how messed up it will become before His return. He promised that the world is robbed of its power to harm us. Do not give that power back through ignorance and religious correctness. Take God at His Word - all of it. We never doubt it is God's Will to save someone, but we frequently doubt it is God's Will to heal or abundantly provide - but Jesus died for all three...

19 May, 2011

Rules of Receiving

In my quiet time before the Lord today I began to ask Him about why it is some of Christians have not seen many manifestations of answers to prayer. As many people know, I am (physically) up to my eyeballs in debt - yay for higher education... I have prayer over that for years. I have herd all of the sermons regarding sowing and reaping. I know it is God's Will for me not to be in debt (Romans 13:8). I have prayed the prayer of petition, written the prayer of petition, and then went back and typed the prayer of petition so as to keep it in my remembrance. I have made the confessions. I have taken the steps. And I still owe roughly 80k. What's the deal? I know what the Word says regarding the financial life God has promised the Christian. I know that most of what Christian people preach and teach on the subject can be most adequately summed up with a stack of four-letters that Jesus died to redeem me from saying. As I sat there, the Word that I do know regarding the situation began flooding my mind. I grabbed my journal and began to write. And write. And write... My hand hurt. This is what He showed me:

  • Kingdom First. Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (NKJV). Is God your number one priority? Is it possible that you have become more concerned with the issues of life than with His Kingdom? The chances are very high that you have. I know that feeling very well. Staring down the barrel of overwhelming debt can blind you to all other things in life. Life is difficult for many of us. Careers (even the ones God has specially called us to) can overwhelm our thinking to a level that overtakes the importance of God. If anything in your life is more important in your life than God you are violating the first law of prosperity. He promised every other issue will be taken care of if you put His Kingdom and His way of doing things as the top priority of your life. Every other need will be covered. You will find you have the time, resources and energy to accomplish every endeavor in life. That is a promise.
  • Doubtfulness is a Clog. James 1:6-7 "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord" (ESV). Any trace of doubt will block manifestations. Too many Christians pray and "see what happens" more than actually praying on purpose. "If it be Your will" is a prayer of fear and doubt. The results will not be what you prayed for. We must pray according to the Word - knowing that the Word Itself promises us that we will receive when we pray accordingly. How many of us actually believe the Bible when it says we receive what we ask for? Without faith you cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6), because you must first believe that He exists. I the same is true regarding answers to prayer. If you do not believe He will answer you, then do not bother asking Him. 
  • Forget the Past. Philippians 3:13-14 "...but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (NKJV). Doubt is often rooted in past "failures." We have spent years praying about a situation, and yet we have seen nothing happen. As a result, crazy doctrines concerning the character of God have led us to believe He is against us having wealth and living long, healthy lives. Perhaps we think it is our lot in life to live lower than others? That is also a load that can only be described by the aforementioned four-letters. Each day is a fresh start for us all (Lamentations 3:23), and His grace is sufficient for that day (2Corinthians 9:9). God's Word never changes, and His Word promises us that He will answer the prayers of our hearts when we pray in-line with His Word. So, when you do not see any results, don't get discouraged and think "here we go again..." Trust God more than your own (or someone else's) experience.
  • Trust GOD! Proverbs 3:5-6 "Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths" (AMP). We should never live the "American way" but the Christian way. Our fortunes are not based upon the systems around us. Our futures are to be based on the promises of God, not on the security of our retirement accounts. God never intended for anyone to retire in the first place. The government has no baring on what happens in your life or mine, unless we give it to them. God is our Provider, not the stimulus package (Philippians 4:19). To place trust in human institutions in to take away from your trust in God and His way of doing things. Education is not the benchmark of success (Psalm 119:99). Your job is not the source of your life (Psalm 118:8). Our systems are broken, and if we trust in them to provide all of our needs we will get broken results (and violate the terms of principle number One).
  • Patience. James 1:2-3 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience" (NKJV). do not be like some "masochistic" Christians and think this means we are to get excited about suffering. It is important to grit our teeth at times and endure all that life and the enemy throw at us. It produces patience, which is better termed "constancy." We receive the promises of God through faith and patience. Remain the same. Continue in the things of God, regardless of what the circumstances of your outside life look like. Those circumstances are not the barometer of God's activity in your life. Patience in not simply enduring some idiot in the grocery line with a smile on our face; it is another form of unwavering (again, see James 1:7). The promise of this kind of patience is completeness - wanting nothing (not because of some religious idea that wanting is bad, but because God will provide everything so that you will have no want). Do not bend to the pressure of waiting. Jesus said that the entire Kingdom operates as a seed (Mark 4). Seeds take time to grow.
  • Watch Your Mouth. Mark 11:23 "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them" (NIV). Your words are seeds just as much as God's are. don't make things more difficult on yourself by planting "crabgrass" all over the place through complaining and idle words. James 3 teaches us that our lives are directed by the words that we say. God may be endeavoring to do something in your life, but you keep moving the opposite direction. You can hinder God's movement by speaking against it. If you operate under a "I'll say it when I see it" mentality, you won't see anything. Ever. Faith words move God. It's His system of operating - even if most religious folks do not think so. God does everything through words (Romans 4:17); He made you in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26); He expects you to do the same things He did (Ephesians 5:1). Speak the things you want into your life by using His words.
So after nearly forty-five minutes, and one very unpleasant hand cramp, my list was finished. This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but it is a start. These are not the rules, but simply some rules. Think them over when you pray. Go find the verses listed (I'm not going to do everything for you). Remember it is those who do the Word that see results.

Was that last line too "churchy"? 

17 May, 2011


Matthew 6:33 - "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

I have devouring a series on this topic by Keith More all week, and it has gotten me to the point where I feel as if I could burst if not given the opportunity to act on it. Charismatic, Word of Faith, tongue-talkin' Christians love the "all things added" part of this verse - thinking of cars, houses, and all the glitz and glamour of heaven. Liturgical, Catholic, religiously-conservative types adore the "seek ye first" aspect, and assume that the "added" part is a loaf of bread and a burlap sack with holes for arms and head (not quite, but sometimes it sure does appear that way). It is kind of in-between.

"Kingdom business" is any and all things that advance God's purposes in this earth. This is not simply taking care of your family and occasionally helping out round your church. What I have learned this week is that these mindsets can actually hinder the progress God is endeavoring to accomplish in your life. My church; my family; my ministry. What are you actually living for when you get up in the morning? That will be a deciding factor in whether or not this Biblical promise comes to full fruition.

What we need to become increasingly aware of is that this world we live in will fade at some point. In Luke 12, Jesus tells this story again, and goes on to instruct us all to "make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys." Our eternal home is in heaven, and we are told that even here and now we are citizens of that kingdom (Ephesians 2:4-7). So, why are we constantly exerting ourselves to advance this earthly kingdom, rather than the one that will last forever? We lack faith...

Jesus promises as that all things will be taken care of for those who put His kingdom first. That means your every endeavor in life will be handled by God when you seek (strive after, plot, or invest in) His kingdom and purposes in the earth. Unfortunately, many Christians are not doing this. If anything in this world is in the top spot in your life, then God is not. "I live for my family" is not a Biblical attitude; it means God got moved into second-place. You cannot love anyone or anything more than the Lord. Remember these words of Jesus: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:37). If you love anyone more than Jesus, you run a serious risk. Love Jesus more than anything. He will then ensure that you have more than enough time, energy and resources to cover every arena of your life. Seek first His kingdom.

Forgive the "mental puke" job on the screen; this has been blaring through my mind most of today. I am struck with how little I have actually considered the kingdom of God. Every time I have pictured the Lord putting large sums of money in my hands, I have dreamed of nothing more than getting my life and that of my family all put in order. That is backwards. The first thing we should do with any of our resources is consider how to invest it into the kingdom of God - be that our local church, a ministry organization, or helping out the widow(er) down the street. The church is nothing more than a part of the kingdom of God. He has so many ideas and desires He wants to accomplish, but He has chosen to use us as those vessels. So, if we do not act, He does not act (go read 1Corinthians about the Body of Christ and you will see that). Money, time, prayer... anything you can use He wants. This is an all-or-nothing job we are called to. Jesus rather you reject Him than play games with this (Revelation 3:15). Kingdom-minded means you wake up and think of ways to invest into the kingdom; it means you spend all day plotting ways to invest into the things of God; it means you lay down to go to sleep still envisioning ways to advance the plans and purposes of God. Even if you do not have a "ministry call" God expects this out of you. He will take care of everything when you make the decision to make everything in life a matter of kingdom-business. I want nothing more than to do that.  Now if I can only find a part of the kingdom that will actually let me work with them...

11 May, 2011

If You Say So...

Why is it bad things happen to good people? The Christian cliché. What happened to being “more than a conqueror”? Christian frustration. “Lord, if it is Your will…” Christian ignorance. “You never know what God is going to do.” Just plain stupid…

One of the reasons “bad things happen to good people” is found in the words that so many Christians say. Unfortunately, many Christians do not believe the Scriptures regarding the power of words, and so they do not even realize that they are doing themselves harm. We will get to that momentarily. First off, let’s look at Proverbs 23:7. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Solomon is referring to a selfish man; however, this passage is true of all people. How you think about, feel about, or perceive yourself in your heart and mind is what you will ultimately become. This is a huge problem within the body of Christ, because so many believers do not think rightly, or according to the Scriptures, about themselves or their circumstances around them. Too many Christians expect something bad to come upon them at some point. They meditate on what they see and hear going on around them. They look at the news reports and meditate on the economy, medical reports, or even bad theology regarding the Christian life and come to wrong conclusions about “reality.” Rather than meditating on the Answer, they focus constantly on the problem, so much so that they become thoroughly convinced that something bad is in the works. The result is that they speak these reports as “truth.”

Let me get one thing straight before we move on: there is a big difference between fact and truth. For example, the economy is factually in a down position, causing problems for people throughout the nation. However, the truth regarding you and me as believers is: my God shall supply all of my needs in accordance to His Word in Philippians 4:19. One of these statements is a fact, the other is the truth. Another example could be that there is factually cancer in the body of a believer. However, the truth is that by the stripes of Jesus we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1Peter 2:24); not someday, not in heaven, not if God is in a good mood and makes it happen. We are healed. One is a current fact; the other is the Gospel Truth. One of the definitions of “truth” is “the highest form of reality that exists.” When you apply higher reality to lower reality, the lower form must bow. I am not denying the reality of the Curse; I am denying its right to exist in the life of a born-again child of the Living God.

Speaking a reality (or a possibility) as the truth will inevitably bring that to pass. Jesus said “for the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Mathew 12:34b). What you think about the most is what you will speak about the most. Proverbs 18:21 says “death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat its fruit.” What fruit is he talking about? The fruit of what you are talking about. What you think about and ponder about the most is what you will inevitably talk about the most. This becomes a problem for many people, because when you decree a thing, you are setting into motion spiritual laws to bring that thing to pass. Look at what Jesus taught His disciples in Mark 11:23, “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” In other words, Jesus, the Master, the Lord, the Word made flesh, has told us that if we truly believed Him and His Word, we could go to Jerusalem, stand at the foot of the Mount of Olives and command it to be thrown into the Mediterranean. That power resides within each and every Christian that walks this earth. And if you will notice, Jesus does not use that faith-destroying phrase, “if it be Your will.” If you truly believed, you could reshape the landscape of Israel. I believe Jesus said this to His disciples, because He knows that nobody this side of heaven will ever attempt to do this. If they do, the faith won’t ever be there to see it to completion. Of course, when we get to heaven and find out fully how to use this power, no one will want to do that. The truth of matter remains: we have mountain-moving power in our faith – literally.
This concept is happening everyday to millions of Christians who do not even believe that what they say has all that much power. They believe all sorts of difficult, painful, tumultuous things are either happening or going to happen to them. They speak of confusion, lack, weakness and fear. As a result, their lives are full of difficulties, confusion, sickness, disease, lack and fear (interesting, isn’t it?). Then some well-meaning, but ignorant Christian begins telling them all about “the will of God” concerning these things – which is based in nothing more than a lack of understanding concerning the Scriptures.

God’s Word is His will; and we are instructed to know it and put it to good use for the edification of both our lives and the lives of others. His Word does not speak of lack, sickness, pre-mature death, fear, or confusion as part of the Christian life. However, a misunderstanding of the Scriptures has led many well-meaning Christians (both on and off the pulpit) to believe that these are elements of the “sufferings of Christ” that we all must endure to the end. Let me assure you: they are not. Remember the old adage “Jesus died on the cross so you don’t have to”? Jesus took upon Himself physical sickness on that cross so that we do not have to live a life of sickness or disease. Physical pain and weakness is not a part of the Christian life. That is not what the Bible is referring to when it talks about the “sufferings of Christ.” If we were meant to suffer like that, then what was the point of Jesus doing it for us? I have been led to believe that some Christians see Jesus as the type to say, “Hey, if I went through it, you gotta go through it!” This is simply not true. He took the pain and suffering in our place, so why would He expect us to carry it upon ourselves? Yet, in some form or another, this is what Christian people believe – and the Lord told us that if we believe what we say, we will receive what we say. Good or bad.

More to come...

04 May, 2011


You have heard me say it before, and you will undoubtedly hear me say it again: Jesus said we would do greater things than He (John 14:12), so why aren't we? I was meditating on that passage again this morning, and it began to rise up very strong within me again. It got to the point where I was almost angry at the notions that churches (including the ones I have been around my whole life) regarding "the will of God." I have come to the conclusion that most of us simply have no idea what "the will of God" truly is. If we did, our lives would look markedly different from what they are today.

God promised us that His Word would not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11), so I am in no way saying that Christianity is not profitable in the world today. There are millions of strong, God-fearing Christians throughout the world. I will admit that I admire many people in this world for their faith in the midst of over-whelming circumstances. I pray daily that my love for God will rival that of most people I know. However, there is an irksome display I have experienced from churches regarding the Word of God. It is this "if it be Your will" mentality that is nothing more than an extreme lack of faith on the part of those involved. You see, faith has become synonymous with denomination or religion. That is not what faith truly is. Hebrews 11:1 describes faith for us, and denomination is nowhere in the verse (or the entire chapter). Faith is simply trusting God. It is, in the words of pastor and author Creflo Dollar, "a practical expression of your confidence in God and in His Word." Do you believe what God has said about you in His Word, or not? If you believed Him, why doesn't your life reflect what He has said?

I have struggled with this issue in my own life on occasions, because my life does not reflect what God said it should. God said I am healed, yet my back will often not feel that way. God said the Blessing of Abraham is already upon my life through faith in Jesus - yet my bank account is not reflecting the millions that came upon Abraham as a result of that Blessing. I am the righteousness of God, even though my language is not always conducive with that righteousness. So, what is the problem? I guarantee you it is not God. It is not some act of God's Sovereignty that is keeping me from living the full life of Blessing that He has pronounced on me. Take off your religious hat and think with your spirit on this one. If there is anything that is keeping you from living the full, Blessed, prosperous life God has pronounced over you, there is one thing standing in the way... You.

God is faithful to His entire Word. Saying that God is not entirely Sovereign down to the minute detail is not a means of blasphemy or disrespect. On the contrary, the greatness of God is found in the fact that, by His own design, He has limited Himself through His Word. God is so good, so great, so awesome, that He has bound Himself to His Word, and to what His Word says regarding our actions. What do I mean by this? We are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:28), and therefore we are the same creative spirits with the same creative power as "God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did" (Romans 4:17, NKJV). The Bible is flooded with passages regarding the power of the words that we use. In James 3, we learn that our mouths have the same steering power in our lives as bits in horses mouths or small rudders on great ships in turbulent waters. No matter what the circumstances may be, God has designed you with the power to navigate them using your words. Religion does not teach this. Even good, faith-filled Pentecostal churches do not fully believe this. They still pray "Lord, if it be your will" which is totally contrary to the Word of God. His Word says that you have the same power of He and Jesus have - which is to speak over your life and change the circumstances. Jesus said that if a person "believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says" (Mark 11:23b). Unfortunately, we have become proficient in doing this negatively; yet, most Christians do not fully believe this can be used to alter their lives for the better. God is bound, by His Word, to honor your words - even if it leads to your destruction.

Take the Children of Israel as a prime example. God promised to lead them out of Egypt into the land he had promised to Abraham. He did not decree that their children would inherit the Land. He did not declare that all the atrocities seen in the wilderness were going to happen. He did not, in His deep Sovereignty, know that all those things were going to happen, and thus it must have been His will the whole time (He probably knew it would happen, but that is a philosophical debate that has no bearing on the points I am trying to make, and would thus only cause more confusion, which is not of God anyway...). God promised that those who walked out of Egypt would inherit the Land we now know as Israel. However, most of them didn't go. They spoke nothing but death, doubt and fear over their circumstances - and died in fear and doubt in the desert. Their words had more power over their circumstances than the promises of God pronounced over them. Keith Moore, pastor of Faith Life Church in Branson Missouri, says "your words have more power over your own life than anyone else's, including God's."Keep your religious hat off and realize this one thing: just because God spoke something over your life does not guarantee it will come to pass. Your words can, and will, alter the course of your life it you let them. You must remain faithful to Him and His way of operating. Your faithfulness is the key to living in all that God has promised you. 

If you call Jesus the Lord over your life, then you do not have the right to say whatever you want. "I just call it like I see it" is not a biblical means of living. Ephesians 5:1 says, "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children." God spoke things into existence and He expects you to do the same thing. Jesus said that if you abide in Him and His Word you would do even greater things than He did. He did everything through speaking. Proverbs 18:21, says "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat its fruit." You are to say what God says all the time. Remain consistently constant in declaring what God has declared over you. Remain faithful to His promises so that they may come to pass in your life. Do not squelch the promises of God by constantly speaking negatively over your circumstances. Faith calls things into being. If your life does not look the way the Scriptures say it should, it is not because of some Divine re-write. God does not go "Well, I Am Sovereign, so I can do whatever I want" and then go off and do something that is contrary to His Word. That would make Him a liar, and He would cease to be God - and we would all be dead. You have to say what He says in order for it to come to full fruition in your life. You have to do it constantly and believe it in your heart. If you feel like you are lying, then go back to the Word and read it over and over until you are thoroughly convinced that His promises will come to pass in your life. Doubt is a cancer growth, it will kill your faith; "for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:6-7, NKJV). 

That is how God's will shall come to pass in your life. That is how you will do greater things than Jesus did. Meditate on this principle. Let it sink into your spirit. This morning my wife and I read 1Corinthians 2. In verse 14, it says "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." This stuff may seem silly to most Christians, but it is the truth of God's Word, and it will come to pass to those who let it. Remain faithful to the Word, and remain faithful to declare only what He says about you. Stop calling it like it is, and start calling those things that be not as though they were, and they will be. 

02 May, 2011

American Gift

"...in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them" ~Psalm 139:16b.

For those who know me, they have heard many rantings and ravings concerning the Heresy of Election (that religious concept of God choosing favorites and declaring those fit for heaven and hell prior to one even being born). It takes a very poor understanding of the Scripture to come up with such a horrible notion that our Lord only died for a select few, that God views different people in a varying degrees of admiration, and that "For there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:11) means something other than "there is no partiality with God!" Election, Predestination, Sovereignty - all doctrines based in a poor, lazy reading of the Word of God. Most religious Christians teach that the Bible speaks of God being in absolute control over the most minute details of every persons life, so much so that it has left many Christians with little reason to try to accomplish much of anything. "God is Sovereign" is a phrase so eloquently described by Evangelist Jesse Duplantis: "Boy they rode that donkey 'til it died!" Well said, good sir. The Bible is clear that we have more power and authority in our lives than most ministers, priests, or pastors will ever realize or admit. And that in no way takes away from God, His might, His authority, or His Lordship. After all, He is the One Who made the system this way. We are the ones too ignorant (or arrogant) to follow His ways.

However, they are many things we cannot control - things that really are up to God's absolute Sovereignty. That is what I want to focus on, because it hits home especially close on a day like today. In the wake of yesterday's events, I am struck with a sense of overwhelming gratitude towards the Lord for making the decision I could not. Just hours before learning of the news that sent most Americans in exuberant celebration, I was reading through the book of Acts, just so happening to begin my reading with Paul's sermon to the Athenians at Mars Hill. What stands out the most at a time like this is 17:26-27: 

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; (NKJV)

Every nation on this earth is a result of the Lord's Sovereign design. Every person is on this earth for a specific reason. In God's eyes, there are no accidents. The United States of America is a result of God's purpose and plan for the world we live in. You are a result of the purpose and plan of God for the world we live in. You did not get to decide who to be born to, where to be born at, or what time period to be born in. That was God's choice. That struck me deeply last night a my wife and I sat down to pray after watching the news. God chose me to be an American. Regardless of what you may think of the man, nothing any human being could ever do would be horrid enough to receive the punishment he is enduring at this very moment. I am moved by that thought today. God gave me the privilege and the advantage of being able to spend my time on earth as an American. I was born into a home with two strong Christian parents. I had the advantage of growing up in church - almost to over-saturation. I was never placed in a position to be exposed to ungodly teaching. I have never been exposed to the poisonous philosophies of our "enemies." The rough financial periods throughout my life pale in comparison to so may others throughout the world. My city is beautiful. The plumbing works. I have more than four t-shirts. My pants are in one piece. 

God never intended for this world to be splintered off into various nations and people groups. We were designed to be one. Yet, as a result of the Fall, things went off-course, and changes needed to be made. In heaven we will be one Nation once again. For now, though, I am given the privilege of God to spend my time on this earth as an American. There are so many Christians in this world hiding, giving their very lives for a Gospel that I still find intimidating to share with some. May we never again take for granted the awesome Blessing it is to grow up in such a Blessed and prosperous land. We were placed here in these Last Days for a purpose. Our freedoms are under attack, not just from radicals throughout the world, but within our own borders. If we get too comfortable, we will lose our rights to worship at the hands of our very own people. I do not believe the time has come for a shift in our nations time and boundaries, but that does not mean we can sit idly by. The people of Israel were promised a land flowing with milk and honey when they left Egypt. However, only .000001% of those who left Goshen ever entered the Promised Land. That was not God's plan. If we sit idly by, God's plan for us will never come to fruition. We could have been placed anywhere at anytime. But He chose us to live here, to live now. We get to be Americans. We get to be Christians. Treasure that gift. You will be asked to give an account for it one day.